Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda


Bhagavad Gita - Song of God - Chapter 13: 7-9

September 16, 2020

™amānitvam adaṁbhitvam ahiṁsā kṣāntir ārjavaṁ
ācāryopāsanaṁ śaucaṁ sthairyam ātmavinigrahaḥ (XIII-7)
indriyārtheṣu vairāgyam anahaṁkāra eva ca
janmamṛtyujarāvyādhiduḥkhadoṣānudarśanaṁ  (XIII-8)
asaktir anabhiṣvaṅgaḥ putradāragṛhādiṣu
nityaṁ ca samacittatvam iṣṭāniṣṭopapattiṣu (XIII-9)

XIII/7. Humility, unpretentiousness, non-injury, forgiveness,
uprightness, service of the teacher, purity, steadfastness,
self-control.

XIII/8. Indifference to the objects of the senses and also absence
of egoism, perception of (or reflection on) the evil in birth,
death, old age, sickness and pain,

XIII/9. Non-attachment, non-identification of the self with son,
wife, home and the rest, and constant even-mindedness
on the attainment of the desirable and the undesirable,

Swamiji's Commentary

     Jñana or true wisdom is recognition that the silent and tranquil spectator enjoys the show.  It is common experience that our wisdom is overpowered by the heat generated by intense activity; yet, in calmer moments, all of us ‘know’ what we should have done! Mental modifications are events that take place in our mind (brain). The ego-sense, the ‘I’ seated in the heart, need only watch those mental modifications without getting involved in them. Thy life would flow smoothly and our thoughts, words and deeds would be full of wisdom.

     But the ego-sense has the age-old habit of identifying itself with these mental modifications. For instance, when the body needs nourishment, we say: “I am hungry”, and not “the body is hungry”. When the mind is confused, we say: “I am confused”. The ‘I’ jumps from the heart, the whirlpool of thought-currents; this is e-motion (motion outwards). Hence, the ignorant man is subject to wrong emotions, which are the symptoms of ignorance.

     However, wisdom must not be confused with intellectuality. Jñāna is knowing that the ‘I’ is a silent witness of the world, the senses and even the mental modifications and is not necessarily involved in them. Can you be good and do good without intention? If, in being or doing good, there is an intention or motivation, it is not goodness but something else. Can the qualities mentioned in these verses be present in you? If they can, you will behave like one who has this jñāna or wisdom.

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